Over 30,000 freshmen applications have been received this year by St. John’s, a statistic the University is reporting as a 27 percent increase from last year’s pool of applicants.
According to a Feb. 12 University press release, the increase is the largest among colleges and universities in New York City this year.
“[The growth of incoming freshman applicants] has been a steady trend, but this year, it’s been an explosive trend,” said Drew Ippolito, senior associate director for the Office of Admission.
“There has been a significant growth this year as opposed to last year.”
As of February 12, 35,317 high school seniors have sent college applications to St. John’s, up from 27,754 applications for the 2007-2008 school year and 25,594 from the year before, according to Ippolito.
He added that although the bulk of applications have already been collected, since the University employs a rolling admissions policy, even more submissions could be on the way.
For this 2007-2008 school year, 15,410 students were accepted with 3,163 freshmen eventually enrolling. 2,811 students enrolled to the Queens campus, 320 to Staten Island and 32 to Manhattan, said Ippolito.
He also said that the year before, the University accepted 15,159 students and 3,266 students. 2,817 of the students enrolled went to the Queens campus, 412 to Staten Island and 37 to Manhattan, according to Ippolito.
At the moment, it is not known how many students will be accepted for this upcoming freshman class.
The increase in applicants has not only had an effect on the University as a whole, but individual departments as well.
Professor Aaris Sherin, Assistant Professor for Graphic Design, reported that there has been an increase of college hopefuls in the Fine Arts Department with 639 applications sent to the Department of Fine Arts as of February 14.
This is a whopping 131 percent increase from the previous school year, according to the fine arts professor.
Both Ippolito and Sherin attribute part of the reason for the recent increase in St. John’s applicants to a stronger emphasis on recruiting students from outside of the New York area.
“Since we’ve added the residence halls, we have become more available to students everywhere,” Ippolito said.
As of the 2007-2008 school year, St. John’s students hail from 45 different states and Ippolito adds that it is not uncommon for University representatives to travel around the country providing information to interested students.
He mentioned that some areas, based on the amount of past applicants, have had substantial interest in the University, including cities such as Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Ippolito also said there is a high level of interest in states such as Texas, California, Florida, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.
In addition to out-of-state students, Ippolito noted that the University tries to reach out to international students as well, with the Office of International Admissions sending representatives to recruit in countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean.
The St. John’s student body this year represents 108 countries, he added.
Despite the focus on bringing in more out-of-state and international students, Ippolito said the University has not forgotten its roots.
“We have never given up on our local market,” he explained. “However, we want to have a more diverse student body, not just by religion and race, but geographically as well.”
He also believes students are attracted to St. John’s because of the services provided.
“We offer a high quality of service, over 100 majors, and the quality and experience of education here is, I think, some of the strongest in the country,” he said.
Some students are unfazed by this year’s rise in freshman applications.
“I think it’s good that interest is spiking in the school, but I’m already here so it doesn’t matter much to me,” said sophomore Andrew Scott.
Others see some benefits that could come with the increase.
“With so many applications, if [the University] accepts the same amount as last year, then it will raise the academic prestige of St. John’s, since only the cream of the crop will get in,” said sophomore Paul Kim.
However, not everyone was as optimistic”It could be a problem if St. John’s doesn’t have enough resources for these new students,” said sophomore Spencer Lee.
Novella Dillard shared similar concerns.”Hopefully, [the University] can offer more activities to fully accommodate the growing number of students,” said the senior.
Ippolito, on the other hand, feels there is no need to worry.
“We will never compromise service at the expensive of any class,” he said. “We are providing more housing, on and off-campus, and the University, as I see it, offers as much academic support as they can.”
Junior Eric Yang also seems confident in how the University will handle a growing student body.
“I think it can only be a good thing,” he said. “If more apply, then more will be accepted. If more students are accepted, more money comes in. With more money coming in, the University can use it for more resources.”
Overall, Ippolito is not sure what the turnout for future years will be. However, he is certain that interest in St. John’s will only go up from here.
“It’s hard to say if a sharp increase in applications like this will continue in the next couple of years,” he said, “However, I see demand maintaining and we will remain popular because of the experiences we offer, along with the quality and integrity of the services we provide here at St. John’s.”